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SIDEWALKING: Gentle On My Mind

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 Irvine Auditorium, post-Glen Campbell concert, last night by JONATHAN VALANIA

DAN DELUCA:  “I’m not Minnie Pearl, but I’m just proud to be here,” he said on taking the stage to John Hartford’s “Gentle On My Mind,” on which he immediately displayed the undiminished guitar picking skills which made the Delight, Arkansas native a standout member of the 1960s group of Los Angeles studio players known as The Wrecking Crew. Campbell, who stands 6 feet tall but cut a larger than life figure as he moved about the stage in black shirt and jeans and blue blazer, had other schticky stage patter at the ready, too. “I’m happy to be here,” he said, before singing a satisfying hooky version meetglencampbell.jpgof Tom Petty’s “Walls,” a song he covered on 2008’s Meet Glen Campbell. “But at this age in life, you’re happy to be anywhere.” That carefree quip was coupled with an uncomfortable chill, however, when he then turned to his longtime sideman T.J. Kuenster and asked: “How old am I?” With Campbell’s condition came an element of risk. With the aid of a teleprompter at the foot of the stage, he still occasionally lost his place, and frequently seemed in danger of rambling aimlessly between songs until the band kicked in and kept the show moving. Campbell has been plagued by short-term memory loss and described as “absent minded” in interviews in the years before his diagnosis, and when he repeatedly told the crowd at Irvine how happy he was to be there, you sometimes couldn’t help but wonder if he knew where he was. MORE

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